Dublin Saab

Cars, politics, sports and what not from my view. (Closed Sundays and Holidays)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Broken Calculator

Thanks to a link from The Auto Prophet I came across the web site 40mpg.org A great example of the disingenuousness of those a little to far on the green side of things. A look at the site though doesn’t show this right away. The site, at first, seems reasonable enough. After all there’s nothing wrong with trying to convert from the soap box that is the internet.

The part where their colors show is their much ballyhooed 40mpg Calculator. This is a nice little web app that tells you how much money you’d save, how much less CO2 you’d emit and how many fewer gallons of Middle Eastern gas you’d burn if you started driving a 40mpg car. Fair enough you say? It would be except for one glaring error. Every single gallon of gas you don’t burn just so happens to be from the Middle East. I wonder how their calculator knows that would be the case?

In 2003 the US produced an average of 5,737,000 barrels of crude each day. We also imported an average of 9,665,000 barrels each day. That makes a total daily use of 15,402,000 barrels a day. However, only 2,425,000 of those barrels was from the Middle East. That’s only 15.7%, yet the calculator somehow is able to figure that any gallon not used is 100% Middle Eastern in origin. That’s one nifty calculator.

There are only two possible causes for this error. Either it is that they are a bunch of ninnies who think all oil comes from the Middle East or they are lying to use terrorism as a cudgel to cower us into living as they want us to. Looking at the overall high quality and thoroughness of their website I do not, for a second, think they are ninnies.

Now what’s that you say? I’m being too harsh? I should take it easy because any gallon saved is still 15.7% Middle Eastern? Not a chance. That they have made the origin of the oil a full 1/3rd of their platform means I can’t – won’t – ignore it but more importantly the Fungibility of oil makes even your 15.7% compromise a lie.

S. Fred Singer explained it well with:
We can think of the oil market, in an oversimplified way, as a giant bathtub into which oil pours from many sources, where it sells at single world price, and from which users purchase oil without regard for its origin.

Now that you have that know this, it’s not just that the Middle East has the most oil it’s that they have, by far, the most accessible oil in the world. So if you started to roll back oil consumption tomorrow you would actually increase the overall percentage of oil coming from the Middle East. That is because other producers would have to cut back due to the falling price of oil while the Mullahs and Sheiks can keep on pumping.
In this chart from the USGS you can see the easily accessed oil reserves in the brightly colored foreground with the "recoverable" reserves in the pale background. Posted by Hello

The only way to cut back on oil from the Middle East would be either a federal law or for everyone to drive a Hummer so the demand forces prices up, allowing more costly methods of production to come online thereby diluting the overall percentage of Middle Eastern oil. But neither of those ideas is very good.

So dear 40mpg.org, feel free to keep on preaching the virtues of higher mileage cars but please drop the crap about where the oil comes from.


At May 12, 2005 9:01 AM, Blogger Nightcrawler said...

Not only will driving vehicles with better gas mileage increase the percentage of oil imported from the Middle East, but all of this clean air is causing Global Warming. We need to dirty the air back up for the good of mankind.

At May 12, 2005 8:02 PM, Blogger The Evil Jeremy. said...

Not much to add. Good points and a well-presented post.

At May 14, 2005 3:17 AM, Blogger Nightcrawler said...

hey DS, check out this link. It goes to the previous post of mine where I talk about needing to dirty up the air.

At May 14, 2005 3:05 PM, Blogger Dublin Saab said...

I heard about that report saying that cleaning the air would increase GW on the radio yesterday. It's all such a joke. I think we can all agree that cleaner is better than dirty but the embryonic "science" of climatology makes medieval alchemists look like they knew what they were doing. Yes cleaner is better but don’t tell me X is going to happen, because quite frankly I do believe that you are talking out of your ass.

At May 14, 2005 3:06 PM, Blogger Dublin Saab said...

CL - thanks

At May 14, 2005 8:03 PM, Blogger The Evil Jeremy. said...

I agree with you on the climatology bit. Certainly, clean air is better than dirty air, for reasons totally unrelated to GW, like, say, athsma. But the scientists would probably come across as a bit more credible if they would admit that this is a new science and that half of what they tell us will later be proven wrong. It's a wonder humanity isn't rushing out to reinvent the wheel every time climatologists issue forth this months "definitive conclusions" when they are contradicted are altered by later research--just look at how fat comes in and out of vogue every two years in dietary science.

That said, the new research on ocean temperatures is interesting. Perhaps you might check out this one and let me know what you think. Sure, it's alarmist (it is CNN after all), but offers some intriguing info.

At May 17, 2005 11:38 PM, Blogger Nightcrawler said...

What always surprises me is that these scientists can talk of the rising of the ocean levels as if it's never happened before. The Grand Canyon has been under water something like 18 times. At the bottom of some frozen lake on the Canadian border, they found tropical plant species. So what if the oceans rise? A few people are gonna have to move... or get a houseboat.

At May 20, 2005 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish everyone in the world drank, bathed in and ate oil and gas. Then we'd use it all up pronto and force us to come up with renewable energy sources. They're out there, just not tested to be proven, or popular enough to be cost efficient.

Consider what happened with solar energy. Individuals installing solar panels was making dramatic climbs until Reagan took away the person income tax credit. The next year the installations went down dramatically.

At May 22, 2005 6:50 PM, Blogger The Gas Guy said...

As a guy that works at a gas station, it's critically important to my livelihood that people be as wasteful as possible with fuel consumption, so I say--down with fuel efficiency. In fact, I'm going to start driving cars in low gear constantly and fill them with bricks to reduce mileage and support the cause.


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